Dizem que os escritores do Nordeste Americano, como Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft e Louis Bayard, transportam para as suas obras o cinzento e frio do ambiente, e consequentemente toda uma atmosfera sinistra.
O livro The Pale Blue Eye, de Louis Bayard, é o seu segundo romance e um dos nomeados ao Prémio Edgar deste ano.
O “The Pale Blue Eye“, que decorre no ano de 1830, é inspirado na breve passagem de Edgar Allan Poe pela Academia de West Point. Poe era um jovem cadete, pouco integrado na instituição militar, que irá assistir o protagonista do livro, Gus Landor.
Numa escura manhã de Outubro, é encontrado um cadete enforcado numa árvore em West Point. O cadáver desaparece durante a noite, para voltar a ser encontrado, mas desta vez mutilado, sem o coração. A Academia decide chamar o solitário detective, já retirado da polícia, Gus Landor, de forma a resolver o caso de forma delicada, para não chamar a atenção dos opositores de West Point, que se encontravam em Washington.
Narrative of Gus Landor
My professional involvement in the West Point affair dates from the morning of October the twenty-sixth, 1830. On that day, I was taking my usual walk—though a little later than usual—in the hills surrounding Buttermilk Falls. I recall the weather as being Indian summer. The leaves gave off an actual heat, even the dead ones, and this heat rose through my soles and gilded the mist that banded the farmhouses. I walked alone, threading along the ribbons of hills . . . the only noises were the scraping of my boots and the bark of Dolph van Corlaer’s dog and, I suppose, my own breathing, for I climbed quite high that day. I was making for the granite promontory that the locals call Shadrach’s Heel, and I had just curled my arm round a poplar, preparing for the final assault, when I was met by the note of a French horn, sounding miles to the north.
A sound I’d heard before—hard to live near the Academy and not hear it—but that morning, it made a strange buzz in my ear. For the first time, I began to wonder about it. How could a French horn throw its sound so far?
This isn’t the sort of matter that occupies me, as a rule. I wouldn’t even bother you with it, but it goes some way to showing my state of mind. On a normal day, you see, I wouldn’t have been thinking about horns. I wouldn’t have turned back before reaching the summit, and I wouldn’t have been so slow to grasp the wheel traces.
Two ruts, each three inches deep, and a foot long. I saw them as I was wending home, but they were thrown in with everything else: an aster, a chevron of geese. The compartments leaked, as it were, one into the other, so that I only half regarded these wheel ruts, and I never (this is unlike me) followed the chain of causes and effects. Hence my surprise, yes, to breast the brow of the hill and find, in the piazza in front of my house, a phaeton with a black bay harnessed to it.
On top was a young artilleryman, but my eye, trained in the stations of rank, had already been drawn to the man leaning against the coach. In full uniform, he was—preening as if for a portrait. Braided from head to toe in gold: gilt buttons and a gilt cord on his shako, a gilded brass handle on his sword. Outsunning the sun, that was how he appeared to me, and such was the cast of my mind that I briefly wondered if he had been made by the French horn. There was the music, after all. There was the man. A part of me, even then—I can see this—was relaxing, in the way that a fist slackens into its parts: fingers, a palm.